I Think I’m Hot But My Boyfriend Doesn’t Seem to Think So

I Think I’m Hot But My Boyfriend Doesn’t Seem to Think So

Evan, I want an honest opinion on my predicament. I am in a year-long relationship and my boyfriend is a wonderful man. We have a strong connection and share a lot of values, views and interests. We’re getting pretty serious but there’s something that is eating me up inside. I think my boyfriend doesn’t think I am hot!

Being 5’5″ and 115lbs and measuring 34-26-35.5”, I always assumed that I was in the same league as a lot of celebrities who boast similar bodies. Granted, I am a little heavier towards my hips and have a bit wider frame but does 1″ really make a lot of difference here? Well, yes, according to my dear b/f. He basically told me that I can’t even compare myself to an actress or other celebrities (this ridiculous conversation started while watching TV and making comments about some actress). To him, I am “good looking” and “pretty” but, say, Angelina Jolie is “hot”, and “beautiful” and I am well… a regular person so I am not, how could I possibly be? He “likes me and finds me attractive”, but by no means am I nearly as good looking as a movie star, and I am crazy to be even comparing myself to them. That was the essence of the conversation. Of course, I felt hurt and I had a few “nice” things to say to him in response – as in “look who’s talking” kind of things and this conversation went downhill right away.

Now, am I crazy to be upset about this outlook of his? Men I dated in the past were (or at least acted the part) infatuated by me. I am used to hearing how beautiful I am. Men turn heads when I walk down the street. While I am totally OK with the idea that somebody doesn’t find me the most beautiful woman on the planet, which a lot of people probably don’t, I am somehow not OK with that person being my boyfriend! I mean, if he was truly into me, wouldn’t I be to him more beautiful than all Hollywood celebrities combined? Wouldn’t he be saying things like “honey, Angelina Jolie got nothing on you”? What happens if I gain weight with age – do I go from being “pretty” to “ugly, but I love you anyway because we have 2 kids and a mortgage and divorcing you is too damn expensive”? Am I being insecure and shallow for zooming in on this issue when everything else is fine, or have I got a legitimate concern? Is recognizing that your girlfriend is not ranking at the top of your scale in terms of looks but is the best “package” you can get in terms of looks-personality-values-etc. a sign of a mature man, or a sign of a man who’s not really in love? And most importantly, is this a deal breaker? —Diana.

Love. This. Question.

It’s a microcosm of every misinterpretation in every relationship ever.

And before I answer it, I want to share with you a story.

It was a tale from a linguistics professor in college who explained to the class that, in studies, men tend to be much more direct in their language. Women are subtle.

We can see this in many forms of personal interaction.

Because women are so kind and supportive, they don’t always speak their minds. They obscure the truth to be sensitive, but fail to communicate their true feelings.

Women are sensitive to each others’ needs. Men are blunt.

Women pick up on details. “What was he wearing? How did he kiss you? Where were you at the time?” Men just want to cut to the chase. “What’s the point?”

Women are supportive of their friends. “No, you don’t look fat in those jeans.”
Men cut their buddies down. “Dude, you gained, like twenty pounds!”

In fact, suffice to say, women are largely better and more sensitive communicators and men should really learn take a page out of women’s emotional playbooks.

Except for this one thing…

Because women are so kind and supportive, they don’t always speak their minds. They obscure the truth to be sensitive, but fail to communicate their true feelings.

My linguistics professor used an example of how a typical man and a typical woman would respond to being stuck in a hot classroom.

The man would say, “It’s hot in here! Open the window!”

The woman would turn to her friend and say, “Do you think it’s hot in here?”

The man issues a command. The woman tries to build consensus, but she doesn’t come out directly and say what she really wants: open the goddamn window!

I’m not going to get into some debate about whether this is 100% accurate, because it’s not. Not all men are direct. Not all women are subtle and nuanced.

But the reason I’m sharing this, in reference to your situation, Diana, is that the most interesting thing about women’s linguistics patterns can be summed up in one line:

Men say what they mean. Women don’t.

Thus, women are often surprised when men say what they mean.

You asked your boyfriend a question.

He gave you an honest answer. You seem shocked that he would do so.

Women are always asking for “honest” men, and then, when you finally get one, you would prefer if he told you something untrue.

I’d be shocked if he told you otherwise. His answer would be the exact same answer I would give to my wife. The difference is that:

a) My wife would never ask me to compare her to Angelina Jolie. She’s not that insecure.
b) My wife would not be surprised at my response, which is that she’s no Angelina Jolie.
c) My wife would not take it personally that I told her the truth, because she knows she’s no Angelina Jolie.

So what’s really going on, Diana, is that you wanted your boyfriend to LIE to you.

You didn’t want the truth. You wanted praise.

Even if it meant that he lied right to your face.

Ironic, isn’t it?

Women are always asking for “honest” men, and then, when you finally get one, you would prefer if he told you something untrue.

You basically set yourself up for failure on a couple of levels.

– You expected your boyfriend to be “infatuated” with you because other men have been. 

– You insulted your boyfriend’s looks because he didn’t lie and tell you were as attractive as one of the most attractive women on the planet. Catty much?

– You actually feel that a man who is truly into you would think you are more beautiful than all of the Hollywood celebrities combined? Really?

How much self-delusion do you have to have to say such things?

I mean, let’s just take it to the extreme:

A man with average looks, average intelligence and an average job gets pissed at his girlfriend who doesn’t think he’s the love child of Brad Pitt and Steve Jobs.

Note: the girlfriend didn’t say he’s “average”. She just said he’s not perfect.

Should he be upset? I sure don’t think so.

Obviously, she loves him — that’s why she’s his girlfriend.

But if you compare ANY man to the most impressive person in his/her field, ALL them are going to compare unfavorably.

So, to answer your question:

Are you being insecure and shallow for zooming in on this issue when everything else is fine, or have you got a legitimate concern? Is your boyfriend recognizing that you may not be at the very top of his scale in terms of looks but are the best “package” he can get in terms of looks-personality-values-etc? Is this a sign of a mature man, or a sign of a man who’s not really in love? And most importantly, is this a deal-breaker?

I would only say this…

You’re spot on in assessing your boyfriend’s maturity. Well done.

The real question is whether it’s a deal-breaker for HIM to stay with a woman who has such a hard time hearing the truth.

I’ve dated such women and personally, I would rather date a 7 who can accept reality than a 10 who expects me to lie to her.

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  1. 41

    I rely on the friends I have and the man I date to be honest with me. If not them, than who? If I asked my boyfriend if I was hotter than Angelina, I would expect him to laugh and say, “Sure,” with irony in his voice. But I also know he thinks I’m hot and that’s all that matters to me.

  2. 42

    I have to agree with Heather. Truth without kindness isn’t helpful here. In fact, I don’t think that blunt, coldly stated facts are very useful in terms of maintaining the health of a relationship. Unless the situation is calling for tough love, which tends to be less often then we think. Above all though I want to be honest and also heard, and so considering how the other person might receive the truth is as import as not lying.

    At the same time Diana needs to take a good look at why she’s cares about this so much. Having dated a few women who were deeply insecure about their looks, I can say that sometimes, it doesn’t matter what or how you say something. You can be kind and say all the right things, and they’ll just want it reconfirmed again the next day, and the day after that. The idea that Diana is worried about being viewed like a movie star makes me think she’s got unrealistic standards, and that the boyfriend is likely being asked variations of this question regularly. Such a position is exhausting because you can never fill the other person’s well. They always need more to feel ok.

  3. 43

    Evan, it seems to me that you’re making a major assumption here that is not supported by the letter Diana wrote. You assume in several of your responses that SHE was the one asking the question of her boyfriend, and that his blunt words were a response to her. When I read Diana’s letter, I see no evidence of that. HE may have been the one to initiate the comments about how she’s not as hot as Angelina, in which case, her upset feelings would have been justified, in my opinion.

    It’s possible that you edited out that part of the letter. But if he was the initiator of such comments, then he is indeed the rude one. Some things don’t need to be said. No one likes comparisons of such a nature.

    1. 43.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      @Helen – Even if he was rude – and we have no way of knowing – should this suggest that their relationship should be thrown away?

      Should this be a fight? In my world, this is a blip on the radar.

      I say something offensive, my wife is offended, it’s over. To me, the reader’s insecurity is a far bigger long-term problem than her boyfriend’s rudeness.

      1. 43.1.1

        Number 1 Saying that beauty is not subjective is the most idiotic thing I’ve heard (sorry to sound blunt, but then again, aren’t I doing exactly what men do?)
        Number 2 He could have easily said it in a nicer way if he really had to tell her that AJ is better looking…if he really found it so necessary. I’ve had guys say to me I look hotter than some Hollywood hotties and, even if I didn’t believe them, it doesn’t mean I’m insecure; I am happy with my look; I certainly wouldn’t need to badger him for the rest of his days to get the answer I want. It just means I don’t have the same opinion. Anyway, I laughed and blushed and said “oh shush” because THE ACT of saying a little white lie is unbelievably sweet. I wouldn’t get offended at the little lie and say “Jesus how could you lie to me, you have to always be honest and if it’s necessary to put me down then put me down” GOD NO!

        I agree with anyone who is saying that women want to be the most beautiful for their man; I also agree that a lot of women are too damn insecure and should seriously know when to keep some things to themselves. But, like I said, even if she thinks the Hollywood “hottie” is better than her (and I say “hottie” like this because it’s subjective! not all will find the Hollywood star a hottie) she doesn’t have to believe every word he says, it’s just nice to hear it.
          It’s true and it is a part of human nature to say things that we don’t mean always, for example when we are angry and we say too much, for me it’s the same when you are in love… when I love a guy I drown him with compliments even if he doesn’t believe them, and probably many other girls may not either. I’ve said my ex was better looking than David Beckham and I still believe it, because beauty is subjective.  
        If beauty is not subjective then why don’t you try testing it out? Write a list of people you find unbelievably hot (as you do AJ it seems, I know a lot of men who think she has a man jaw, but I’m not putting her down… I personally think she’s lovely) anyway, go around and ask people if they think everyone you have put on that list deserves a place there. I can guarantee you; I can bet you a million pounds that they will disagree. Even in English second language books it says the subjective (opinion) adjectives are “nice, beautiful, pretty, etc.”, could you possibly say to me that the Cambridge and Oxford English language teaching books are wrong?!
        So, in general, I think she was wrong to ask it, but then again, if a guy I was dating came out with a comment like that I’d probably wait for another excuse to dump him. It puts a damn bad taste in my mouth and I even feel the anger for the poor girl. I don’t know if that’s the American man’s way of being, maybe that’s too much of a generalisation, but bloody hell, how rude.  
        I agree completely with Aksuay, also we don’t even know what she looks like and for all we know other men could possibly think she’s better than AJ.
        Anyway, I think this is completely blown out of perspective, and completely exaggerated. How is it you are advising her in such a harsh way and then talking as though this situation (this peanut of a situation) could possibly represent the honesty in the relationship? As though she needs lying to every time in order to be happy? Isn’t that a tad bit extreme?! It’s a little sweet fib he could have said (I say sweet because it was said with good intention) if he had said a fib she could have easily come back with “oh u sweetie, but fibber” and they could have laughed it off! there is no need for that kind of bluntness, she’s not trying to be a model (I don’t think) she wouldn’t need to be dissected and called only “pretty”, to receive some kind of reality check, (if he thought that’s what he was giving to her). Women aren’t stupid… we don’t need blunt truths from men in order to bring us down to earth. We may have an answer in our head but just may want to test our couple to see what he would say; see if he would take into account our feelings and be sensitive etc. (I admit though, Diana looked like she was looking for validation, not looking to test him, which in any case is wrong, she should not be so insecure).Anyway, it’s not about what WE think because we may already think we are finer than AJ or whoever, it’s just to see how he will react. It’s what women do, we know men are more shallow than women, that’s certainly objective (they think with their d’s) women are more emotional, so it’s natural to assume looks mean a hell of a lot for a guy. They are a very physical sex, so when asking what he thinks of his couple’s beauty…it’s a test he should pass, it’s not hard, and fibbing isn’t going to mean he will fib about everything. He can say she looks fat in some clothes if she does…because it’s not comparing to any other girl and its saying the truth to benefit her.
        Once an ex of mine was talking about actresses and ranking them by their beauty (who he thought was a 10 or a 5 etc.) and after hesitating to call Charlize Theron a 10 he then turned to  me and said “9”. I didn’t want to kill him there and then because he said “9”, I’m quite flattered by that, but the fact he didn’t take into account all of my other attributes when ranking, that’s what disgusted me. How shallow can a man be? It’s very shallow for a man to answer the way her boyfriend did. And whether you disagree with this or not, I believe it shows he’s either an arse, or lacks feelings.    
        This is obviously something women understand a lot better than men.
        Also, now George Clooney is engaged to marry, in my opinion, a very average looking woman. We don’t know if he thinks the same and goes for her for all the other qualities she has (articulate, intelligent, probably a great woman with humour etc.). But maybe, (and I hope so), he wouldn’t say “I dated a hot Italian before u…undoubtedly hotter” even if she asked him. It’s called having finesse, I’m sure he’d make her feel extremely sure of herself and beautiful. But you never know, she could be his exact type and he could think she’s absolutely gorgeous. Who knows.

      2. 43.1.2


        Beauty is subjective! I still think Aaliyah was the prettiest woman I’ve ever seen!!! C’mon now…

        And when I tell people this they sometimes agree or don’t at all.

  4. 44

    #42 is by far the most sensible comment here so far. Honestly the original response strikes me as a bit aspi, no offense to anyone, and so does the OP’s bf. Response based on logic and unemotional comparison while clearly the problem is in the area of feelings and empathy.

  5. 45

    When I look at myself, it seems obvious to me that we are no Angelina Jolies…. But who cares ?

    In my boyfriend’s eyes, I am definitely not the most beautiful woman of the world, not even the most beautiful woman he’s dated…and guess what ? IT IS TRUE! But who cares ?

    It seems totally paradoxal to me to state that beauty is not the most important thing in the world an to be offended when ur told that ur not THAT pretty…

  6. 46
    Karl R

    Aksuay said: (#28)
    “everybody needs reassurance, men even more than women.”


    I can’t remember how long it’s been since my fiancée complimented my appearance. It’s been a few months, if not longer.

    It’s nice when she does, but it’s not a big deal when she doesn’t.

    Aksuay said: (#28)
    “My money is on him just being clueless thou”

    I’ll agree with the boyfriend being clueless. Flattery is a great way to build brownie points.

    Years ago I read one of the “Men Are from Mars” books. One of the points the author made was that men and women keep score in a relationship differently. To give a simplistic example, if a man spends 8 hours at work earning money, and a woman spends 8 hours at home doing chores, the man thinks they’re equal (8 hours = 8 hours). The woman sees that she did 10 different chores, while the man did one thing (he went to work), so she did 10 things for him, while he only did one thing for her.

    This struck me as unfair, until the book pointed out that compliments count as something a man has done. Even if you have a situation where a man is full-time employed and the woman is a homemaker, he can “catch up” by giving enough compliments.

    It’s an easy solution. There’s very little effort involved.

    (I realize that I’ve given an oversimplified example, but it’s an easy way to describe this difference in perception.)

    Unsurprisingly, my fiancée has commented that I am “extremely generous” with my compliments.

    Heather said: (#37)
    “We do not KNOW all the details in the conversation, we don’t know HOW he said that to her.”
    “It is NOT what you SAY. It is HOW it is said.”

    Diane wasn’t asking Evan about how it was said. She was asking about what was said.

    Evan’s point is relevant to the question he was asked. Your point can only be addressed by speculating on events that none of us witnessed.

  7. 47

    Men have insecurities too. My ex had moobs and mentioned a few times he hated them and couldn’t get rid of them no matter what he did. I picked up that he needed reassurance so I explained that I loved him, the moobs were part of him and therefore I loved the moobs. It never came up again and he was a lot less self-conscious than if I just agreed moobs were not his best feature. Just a thought.

  8. 48

    I still think thee woman’s original question was ridiculous and insecure. The boyfriend is set up unless he thinks on his feet and answers the diplomatic way Fiona suggested (42)

    My ex never asked if I thought he was hotter than Denzel.
    He just thought he was!!

    Insecurity is not hot but radiating confidence definitely is.

  9. 49

    Why do women ask men these stupid questions to begin with?

    Why do all of women here either takes the OP’s side or accept her as a valid source regarding her boyfriend’s rudeness? The OP does not strike me as an objective judge here in this regard.

    Why is “honesty” the most common trait women claim to desire in online dating profiles when the responses her would seem to indicate it is better for men to either be evasive or tell them what they want to here?

    And I’ll ask again, why do women ask men these stupid questions to begin with?

    1. 49.1

      Women ask men questions of this nature because they’re insecure. They’re afraid the man will leave her for someone better looking.
      I’m not saying this is a valid fear, or that it’s okay to be this insecure. But it’s a reason.

  10. 50

    I think there is a time and place for truth, and the brutal truth if it comes to that. The boyfriend’s response should vary according to the situation and would be very different in different circumstances. It all depends on whether the issue was raised in playful banter, or if Diana kept badgering him out of chronic insecurity, or if she was hell bent on spending her last penny on an aspiring modelling career.
    This is where I think poster Heather is being unrealistic and unreasonable in expecting nicely nicely softly softly attitudes from people at work. People at work have every right to speak to you bluntly and directly, as long as they are not being overly rude. I think most women understand this and can communicate as required in a work environment.

    The trap that men fall into is that they don’t or can’t read between the lines as to what a woman actually wants. A “typical” man would use logic and assume that a woman wants a direct answer to a direct question. A woman (in a relationship context) might ask a question for reassurance, confirmation, understanding or for a whole range of reasons, nothing which relates to wanting the truth. I think most women are perceptive enough to know the truth already, but either want reassurance, or an excuse to continue being in denial.
    Diana isn’t delusional enough to think she is in the same league as Angelina Jolie (though personally I don’t think AJ is at all attractive). She is wanting to feel totally absolutely and crazily desired by the man in her life. The issue is not that Diana’s boyfriend is blunt, but that is missed the fact that she wants to be worshiped.

  11. 51

    From the letter, it sounds to me like the guy is probably exasperated/annoyed with the girlfriend. I can’t decide if she sounds shallow or insecure. Anyway, I imagine, again from the letter, that this woman spends a lot of time comparing herself to celebrities, asking him if he thinks she’s prettier than Megan Fox, a better figure than Hallie Berry, etc. And maybe he finally snapped. I know I would. I guess I could be wrong, but the woman sounds exhausting to me.

    If I was ridiculous enough to ask a boyfriend if he thought I was better looking to him than all of Hollywood combined, or if he asked me if I would choose Tom Brady over him, my comeback would be sweet and sexy, and equally as joking. We all (well, except for the woman who wrote this letter) know that we’re not as great looking as a celebrity and those of us with any sense know why, so this is immature and moronic.

  12. 52

    I live by one rule…don’t ask if you don’t want the answer. Maybe I should say, if you can’t handle the answer.

    Only she knows if it’s a deal breaker. To compare one’s self to a model or actress is absurd…

    If you think you’re that hot…great. If you want him to think you’re that hot…pretend you know the answer.


  13. 54

    These girl is completely rediculous. Dont ask if you dont want the truth. I agree that men need to take lessons but you women are soooo needy.

  14. 55

    Wow and Desdenova
    Not all women are insecure and needy any more than all men can’t spell the most basic words

  15. 56
    Laura S.

    If the OP needs validation from her boyfriend, then she needs to TELL him she needs validation when she goes fishing for compliments. If he can’t deliver after she requested it, then she needs to go shopping for a new boyfriend. It’s that easy.

    As a former hottie with measurements of 36-24-35, green eyes and long blonde hair thinking I was hot snot. A good look at some of the middle-aged former hotties gave me a peek at my potential future if I did not reform my attitude.

    At 54 years old, I’m still told I’m hot…..I say to myself, “Yeah,with my clothes on!” I hide the bags and circles under my eyes in the smile lines and I sure as heck won’t be seen in a string bikini ever again or even consider going braless in a sun dress.

    What’s important is charactor, personality and intellectual development, and an unshakable sense of self. Wearing a big smile and being comfortable in my own skin being who I am lets me pick and choose the men I date. I don’t choose men by their looks or their bank accounts.

    Standing naked before a mirror in the morning before coffee, make-up and smile, I’m a hideous 3. Thank God I know how to laugh at myself!

  16. 57

    Jeeze this thread is making my eyes bleed. Why is this girl automatically assumed to be an average looking insecure person who torments her b/f with it? If they live in LA, where everybody is stunning, an equally probable scenario is that she’s a hottie and he’s a spoiled jaded typical LA guy who is taking it for granted and doesn’t even feel that he needs to tell his g/f she’s beautiful.

  17. 58

    Amen, Laura S! I am a 55 year old woman who was formerly obsessed with her looks and thank goodness, I learned rather quickly that it was my character, personality and genuine compassion for others that was way more important in the scheme of things. It is a relief to be my age and to realize that living a good life is so much more than looks and being hotter than a celebrity.

  18. 59

    The letter-writer is also indulging in “relationship fitness testing” where she asks a question out of insecurity and wants her man to stand up to that insecurity NOT with pretty and kind phrases that supplicate to her insecurities but actually prove that he has the backbone to stand up to her fitness testing.

  19. 60

    @Happy Person #13:

    I’m pretty sure you’re as smart as Einstein. 😉


    “I wouldn’t WANT a girlfriend who says, “Oh, you’re the ‘biggest’ man I’ve ever been with.” It’s not true. It would make me feel uneasy. It would make me feel that she may be lying to me about other things. This seems so readily apparent to me. ”

    That statement is honest, awesome and hilarious all at the same time. That’s why I keep coming back!


    There is a qualitative difference between someone calling you “pretty” vs. “hot” or “beautiful.” The latter terms connotate the generation of sexual desire. Just as men have a deep seated desired to feel useful to their partners, fertile women want to feel like they incite sexual desire in their partners. (Some women base most of their self-esteem on their ability to generate boners in guys, which is obviously unhealthy and unsustainable.) However, I have to think that there is some kind of biological imperative in women where they want their mate to show evidence of being extremely invested in their sexual coupling. I have no empirical proof for this yet, just an observation. It makes sense though since it is in a woman’s best interest if a man couples with her and remains sexual faithful to her.

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